Just like with anything else in life, there are two ways to do things when it comes to online marketing. You can choose to do things the easy way, or you can try doing things the hard way. The funny thing is the easy way is often also the smart way.
In this article, I’m going to teach you the smart way to get traffic for your affiliate marketing business. Regardless of how you choose to convert that traffic, I’m going to teach you the smart way to produce traffic. Put simply, the aim is to work less while getting more results.
Unfortunately, a lot of books out there that teach you affiliate marketing have it in reverse. They talk a good game but you end up doing things the opposite way of what I’ll teach you. You’ll end up putting a tremendous amount of time only to have very little results to show for it because the turn-on-effort simply isn’t there.
Social media is the key
Forget what you’ve heard about social media and the effectiveness of its traffic. Social media is the key to your affiliate marketing success. Here’s how to do it.
Find your competitors on all social media platforms
By this point, you should already have a clear idea of who your niche competitors are. Go ahead and find their accounts on all social media platforms. By “all”, I mean the major social media platforms. This means look for your competitors on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Instagram and Pinterest.
For bonus points, look for their account on Google Plus. Focus on in the social media platforms where most of your competitors are found. After you’ve done your research, you should have raw count of where your competitors are and where they’re not. A pattern should emerge.
It may well turn out, depending on your niche, that most of your competitors focus primarily on Twitter. Some niches tend to focus on Facebook. Whatever the case may be identify the social media platforms where most of your competitors can be found.
Figure out their influencer base
How influential are your competitors on the social media platforms your niche tends to focus on? In the most common platform for your niche, look for the base of influence your competitors have.
For example, on Twitter, are there special accounts that they keep mentioning? Are there industry specialists or industry experts or consultants that they always mention in their posts? What kind of hashtags do they use? Similarly, on Facebook, do you find them on certain groups? Do they tend to congregate in certain groups?
The bottom line on social media reverse-engineering
I hope the pattern is clear. Make sure that, regardless of where your competitors are on the major social media platforms, you figure out how they distribute their content.
Do they participate in group discussions? Do they have their own pages or do they basically promote their content on other people’s pages? What kind of hashtags do they use? Pay attention to what they’re doing on the major social media platforms your niche congregates in. Pick apart their patterns.
The smart way to build credibility on social media
By this point, you should have the three crucial things you need to reverse engineer your competitors on social media.
First, you should have a clear understanding of which platforms to focus on. Since your niche tends to congregate within a fairly narrow range of social media platforms, you should know which ones these are.
Second, you should have a clear idea of where they promote on those platforms. You should try joining those groups. You should try to be visible in those areas.
Third, you should have an idea about the hashtags that they use. Facebook and Twitter use hashtags.
So, identify the hashtags that are most commonly used in your niche. Now that you have all this information, you are ready to build credibility on social media. This account must reflect your content branding strategy. If you have a blog or a central website for all your articles, your accounts on your target social media platforms should look similar to each other. There has to be no confusion regarding your brand.
If you feature a logo or a header graphic on your blog, it should be consistent on your social media accounts as well.
Next, you’re going to gather as many of your competitors’ best content. At this point, you should have already done that. You already should have a large list of top-notch third party content that gets a lot of love from social media. These get retweeted a lot. They get shared a lot on Facebook. They get a lot of Plus One votes from Google Plus.
Whatever the case may be there is an objective indication that these are quite viral on social media. You should have a list of the URLs of this content. Your next step is to create a list of your improved versions of some of this content. This is your own top-notch content.
Your secret sauce
The secret sauce that you’ll be using is to “sandwich” your best content with your third party competitors’ very best content. In other words, you use high-quality materials produced by third parties, and these could be your competitors, to establish credibility and context. When people see your brand on social media and they see your post, it becomes readily apparent that you’re only going to talk about a fairly narrow range of topics.
This establishes your brand as some sort of expert or credible authority within a fairly narrow range of subject matter categories. This is crucial. You can post all sorts of content about Kim Kardashian, celebrity content, Donald Trump, political, economic stories as well as gossip. That’s going to dilute your message. You have to stay on message.
You have to stay laser-focused on your niche. On top of this, you have to feature the very best credible and authoritative content within your niche to position your brand as an expert. This is why it’s crucial to go through that list of third-party content that you’ve reverse-engineered from your competitors with a fine-tooth comb.
You have to be very meticulous regarding filtering that material to make sure that it gets people’s attention as well as gets them thinking about your credibility and authority. You may be thinking “How can this build my create ability when it’s somebody else’s content?
This is not my own stuff. If people click on that link, they’re not going to go to my website. They’re going to go to my competitors’ website. What do I get out of it? Well, here’s the thing. When people can tell that they can reliably go to your social media account and get the very best content regarding the niche you’re targeting, they trust your brand more.
So, even if they click on a link and it takes them somewhere else, they will still go back to you because they can then find another link that is guaranteed to add value to their lives and when they click that, they get quality. They get value so they would want to go back to you. You are the hub that holds everything together. That’s how you develop a solid brand on social media.
That’s how you become credible. This is also the way to establish context. The key here is to establish this credibility to the point that when people just give you the benefit of the doubt automatically and they just click link after link that you post because they know that it’s going to be on point, you basically have them feeding off the palm of your hands because sandwiched within these high-quality, top-notch third-party links are your own links. This is the payoff. When they click these, they go to your website.
That’s where you can show them ads that pay you money. That’s where they can sign up to your mailing list. Whatever the case may be once they go to your website, they can take an action that can end up putting more dollars in your pocket.
That is the name of the game. However, to get there, you have to be trustworthy. People have to have a good reason to trust you instead of somebody else. They should have a clear idea of why they should keep going back to your branded account instead of just picking out generic content through a random Google search.
I hope you can see the difference here.
How to execute the sandwich strategy
I call this the sandwich strategy because that’s what you’re doing. You’re sandwiching your own content with the content of movers and shakers as well as proven and recognized authorities in your niche.
If you play this game correctly, you are essentially going to be piggybacking on the authority and credibility they worked so hard to build. The more people can see that your account only shares the very best content, the more credible your account becomes. You then end up benefiting from the existing brand authority of your competitors. Isn’t that awesome?
It’s definitely better than starting from scratch because, believe me, establishing a solid and credible online brand nowadays can set you back tens, if not hundreds of thousands, of dollars pores.
There are specialized public relations firms in the United States and Western Europe that are built specifically for this job.
However, you’re doing this on a shoestring budget. In fact, you’re doing this for absolutely free thanks to reverse engineering and the sandwich strategy.
How the sandwich strategy works
To spell it out in greater detail, the sandwich strategy works this way. First, you need to get a massive list of your competitors’ content. Next, you’re going to have to filter these based on social media signals.
• Are people retweeting these materials?
• Are people clicking the thumbs-up Like button on Facebook?
• Is this material getting a lot of love on YouTube?
• Are the YouTube comments generally positive?
• Are these getting up pinned a lot on Pinterest?
• Do people on Instagram love this stuff?
Whatever the case may be there has to be some sort of objective social media validation. You can easily detect this looking at the social signals. Ideally, if a post gets retweeted a lot, that is more credible than a post that just gets a lot of thumbs up.
On Facebook, for example, if a post gets a lot of shares, that is more credible than a post that just gets a lot of thumbs up and reactions. Once you have loaded these, you then get the URLs of your own content. Remember your content is reverse-engineered from the best materials your competitors can come up with. In other words, you’ve taken their best and improved on it.
Maybe you’ve updated it. Perhaps you’ve included all sorts of multimedia bells and whistles. Possibly, you’ve made it easier to read. Whatever the case may be just by looking at your own content, people can easily conclude that this is better than the competition. This is the kind of stuff that you’re going to be sandwiching so you’re going to first post several links establishing context and credibility.
This is done courtesy of your competitors’ content. Next, you post your own content. This immediately establishes your brand’s credibility and quality. Your visitors only need to click on the link to your own content to see how you beat everybody else hands down in terms of the information and value you bring to the table. After you post your own content, you then resume with posting other people’s content.
Again, it’s all about building context and credibility. You also want people checking out your social media pages to see that all you talk about is your niche, and the way you talk about your niche is not to sell stuff or cram products or services down their throat.
Instead, when they go to your account, they see high-quality content that answers the questions that they already have. After a few more posts of third-party content, you then follow that up with a call-toaction content.
Call-to-action content is different from your own content. Your own content is a link to your article or blog posts. It can also involve a link to your YouTube videos.
Your call-to-action content, on the other hand, goes to your squeeze page. This is where people can sign up for your mailing list. Usually, this offers some sort of freebie like a free book, free software or a free video course.
Whatever the case may be there is some sort of free premium being given out in exchange for the prospect entering their e-mail address. Once they get on your e-mail address, you can then send them prescheduled e-mails that qualify them to eventually buying something from you.
Once you have posted your call-to-action content, you then post third-party content and then you keep rotating. You’re basically alternating between third-party content, your own content, third-party content and then call-to-action content and then back again.
Automate your social media presence
As you can tell from my description of the sandwich strategy above, this is going to be a bit much to handle on a manual basis. You can do that if you have a lot of spare time or if you’ve hired a virtual assistant from places like the Philippines or India.
However, the better approach would just simply be to automate. By using tools like SocialOomph or Hootsuite or one of many other versions of these two tools, you can feed your social media accounts a huge amount of content URLs ahead of time. You feed them once, but these tools make sure to publish based on the schedule you set. You don’t have to publish manually one by one.
Instead, you just input everything once, make sure you set everything up in terms of the think, the title as well as other elements and then the software does it on an autopilot basis.
This doesn’t mean that you’re just going to relax and take it easy. Even after the software is already posting your updates, you should also log into your social media accounts and engage with influential thought leaders or known-and-proven subject matter authorities in your niche on those different social media platforms. This way they can republish some of your stuff.
Maybe they can retweet your stuff. Whatever the case may be you end up getting some of their fans’ eyeballs because of your engagement with them. Don’t think that just because you have set up your automated software that is all you need to do. You also have to manually engage on social media. It is social media so this means that you have to be social.